Connecticut Retracts Earlier Statement, Will Continue Regulating Funeral Homes

August 9, 2011
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Connecticut — The state Department of Public Health said Friday that it will continue licensing funeral homes, funeral directors and embalmers, saying an announcement this week that it would no longer do so was “inaccurate.”

“While the DPH is streamlining processes and reallocating resources in response to budget cuts, it has no plans to stop licensing and inspecting funeral homes, funeral directors or embalmers,” the agency said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

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On Monday, the department said announced that it was deregulating the funeral home profession as part of a proposed $20 million budget cut, a move that also would stop regulation of college infirmaries and some clinics. It said licensed professionals in those places would still be subject to health department oversight.

“[W]e are gratified to see a retraction from [the DPH],” the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association said in a statement on Friday. “This decision is in the best interest of funeral directors statewide and the families we serve.”

The health department statement said that, if it decides to make changes in licensing procedures in the future, it will meet first with the funeral directors group.

The department’s funeral and embalmer examining board has taken disciplinary action against more than 40 funeral homes, directors and embalmers in the past three years. In the past, some funeral home operators have been disciplined, fined or banished from the profession for such transgressions as cremating the wrong body, reselling top-tier coffins that had already been bought by families, switching coffins after families left a grave site and mishandling trust funds containing thousands of dollars for prepaid funerals.

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